Dan Wootton: Boris Johnson must allow us to travel freely again, without the fear of being trapped overseas or being locked up for ten days on return

Dan Wootton gives his take on the day's top stories.

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Holidays

International travel is currently being used as the final stick with which to beat the bulk of the British public desperate to return to normal and get some summer sun while the kids are on holiday. It’s been a traumatic year for most of us, apart from the comfortable civil servants and rich folk who seem to love being locked away in their posh homes away from us mere mortals.

The least we deserve now is the ability to go overseas and visit our family, loved ones and friends with whom we have been so cruelly and unexpectedly separated from for over 18 months. And there’s also nothing wrong with admitting we need to escape for a holiday for the good of our mental health.

I’ll admit I’m longing for that. I’ve loved my staycations the past few months, especially in Scotland, but the time has come for me to step foot on a plane and experience the joy of getting a few days on a beach in Spain or Greece. Of course, the scientists and Cabinet doves warn of catastrophe and the potential to import some new mutant Covid strain.

But those of us who have followed this pandemic closely know that’s just scare mongering rhetoric that doesn’t stack up. All the virus mutations are adequately covered by the vaccines. All the virus mutations have entered countries with even the most draconian border restrictions.

Our leaders can try and lock us away all they want, but they can’t stop the virus crossing borders no matter how much they would like to try. So this week it’s critical that Boris Johnson realises his scientific advisers have been wrong so many times – including over Freedom Day – and allow us to travel freely again, without the fear of being trapped overseas or having to be locked up for ten days on return.

The double jabbed from the US and Europe are quite rightly able to arrive in the UK without any form of quarantine, so why should the rules be different for Brits?This is our first post-Brexit opportunity to embrace Global Britain.

Those lobbying for the introduction of a new Amber Watch List for favourite holiday destinations like Italy, Greece and Spain should rack off and leave us alone. The decimated travel and tourism industry is on its knees – thousands of British jobs are now at stake. More confusion and uncertainty is the last thing anyone needs. But as Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, told The Times today: “The EU must be looking at us in incredulity. We have totally squandered the vaccine dividend we had built up. No wonder passengers have no idea whether they’re coming or going. Green is the only way forward for the industry — this is the last chance saloon now for saving the summer.”

So on Thursday, any country with Covid rates lower than ours should be slapped on the green list. Chancellor Rishi Sunak is right to tell the Prime Minister that the draconian restrictions must end. Boris Johnson must listen this time.

Vaccinations and testing provide all the protection that we need, so let’s just get on with it and stop the constant mental torture of changing guidance and regulations. It’s time to travel.

Stop the fear

You would think train stations would likely be a hotbed of transmitting Covid-19, right?

Well, you’d be wrong. Network Rail conducted swab and air samples of four major railway and intercity train services – London Euston, Birmingham New Street, Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Piccadilly station. And guess what? No Covid was found whatsoever.

That’s even though escalator handles were swabbed and hour-long air samples were run, with tests repeated on trains between stations. Fascinating stuff and more reason to stop the fear when it comes to domestic travel – and to allow passengers to travel unmuzzled if they choose.

Scotland

Tone deaf Nicola Sturgeon is planning to kickstart her pathetic campaign for a second independence referendum at the SNP conference in September – and she’s going to use the Covid-19 pandemic to try and do so.

Leaked documents seen by The Daily Telegraph have revealed Sturgeon will tell Scots that independence is “essential” to the country’s recovery from coronavirus. Er, good luck with finding evidence to back that one up.

For a start, if they hadn’t been part of the UK but somehow remained in the EU, Scotland would have almost certainly relied on the EU’s piss poor vaccination procurement programme.

Sturgeon is trying to cash in on the popularity she’s gained during the pandemic, after being given a daily platform by the BBC from which to terrify her population every day. But that popularity is fading fast. Scots should be more terrified of the new figures showing Scotland continues to have the highest drug death rate recorded in Europe – another catastrophic Sturgeon failure.